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Home | 4th of July Family Family Road Trips in Northern California

4th of July Family Family Road Trips in Northern California

4th of July parade at Columbia State Historic Park

Are you ready for a summer road trip this 4th of July? Communities across Northern California celebrate Independence Day in their own special ways. Here are some of our favorite destinations that do the 4th of July right and are perfect for a fun family long weekend or day trip. All are within a few hours' drive of Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area.

​Columbia State Historic Park 4th of July

Columbia's Glorious 4th of July Celebration

Columbia's Glorious 4th of July Celebration has been a Gold Country tradition since 1852. Come to this authentic Gold Rush-era town and California State Park in Tuolumne County for a colorful 4th of July parade, concert, and plenty of of old-fashioned games like the egg toss, tug of war, pie- and watermelon-eating contests, and more. Festivities are free; contests and games cost $1 each to enter. Enjoy a pulled pork BBQ dinner for $10. We've attended a couple times, and it's really so much fun spending the 4th in Columbia State Historic Park!

Railtown 1897 4th of July

4th of July at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in the Gold Country town of Jamestown celebrates the 4th of July with steam train rides drawn by the Sierra No. 3 steam locomotive, live music, and family fun. A ride on this historic railroad, which has been featured in classic movies like High Noon and Back to the Future Part III is an experience you'll never forget. It's about a 15-minute drive from Columbia State Historic Park, so you can combine visits for an extra-special 4th of July.


Lake Tahoe 4th of July Fireworks/Shutterstock

Celebrate the 4th of July in North Lake Tahoe & Truckee

Celebrate the 4th on Tahoe's North Shore! The historic town of Truckee's 4th of July parade runs from 10 am to 12:30 pm and winds along Donner Pass Road through Downtown Truckee. Later on, head down to the lake for Tahoe City's 74th annual fireworks show, which has been named one of America's best 4th of July displays. If you're there a little early, make sure you check out the July 3 fireworks and beach party in Kings Beach.

Roaring Camp & Big Trees Railroads
Roaring Camp Railroads

Roaring Camp Railroads 4th of July Family Fun Events

Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains' redwoods offers a fun-filled day of games, live music, and an all-American BBQ. Get a taste of the Wild West on the Redwood Forest Steam Train as you witness shootouts between 1880s lawmen and outlaws during the Great Train Robbery, which takes place on all Roaring Camp steam train trips.

Monterey 4th of July
Old Monterey Business Association/pcofresi

4th of July Festivities in Monterey

Monterey is always a fun destination for a family getaway, and it really goes all out on the 4th of July. Begin the morning with a pancake breakfast at Fire Station #1, followed by a 4th of July parade in Old Monterey. Then, head to historic Colton Hall for Monterey's free Big Little Backyard Bar-B-Que & Entertainment Extravaganza, with live music, free carnival booths and games, face painting, balloon artists, and bounce houses. Food and drink will be available for sale. Also taking place on the 4th of July is Living History Day at Monterey State Historic Park, where families can join volunteers dressed in historic costume and learn about life in 19th-century California.

2019 Marin Summer Camp Guide